Many things are going on here at our farm this winter. We are spending time doing crop planning, receiving seed corn, booking chemicals, repairing equipment, building a few things and the list goes on and on.
We have hired a full time employee this year. Mason just graduated from Hastings College in December and started full time with us on January 1st. He has worked part time for us the last year and we welcome him and are very happy to have him on board.
We have worked with Producers Hybrids as a dealer for the better part of two decades and they have worked really hard this year to make sure we have the tools necessary to succeed. To that end we took an extensive tour this year during the seed corn harvest and saw our products as they came out of the field and headed to the bags that we will deliver this spring for planting. Producers is a part of the Ag Reliant family and is independent in the fact that we are not owned by a chemical company which makes them a different kind of seed company.
As part of equipping us with more knowledge of our company and our facilities, I am just returning from a visit with Producers to Puerto Rico where we toured our research facility there. They have the benefit of a climate which literally can allow three crop seasons in one year. They plant on most days and harvest on most days. This ability coupled with a dihaploid breeding process allows us to bring products to market faster than anyone in the industry. It was very beneficial to see what we have coming down the pipeline and have an opportunity to see the excitement that the people have for what is going on with our seed corn company.
The coming weeks will bring more prep work for the 2013 crop, my first meeting as a school board member at Adams Central, a meeting with the Dow Grower Technology Group, a vacation as a couple, and some basketball games the kids are playing in.
From our farm to yours, we all hope you had a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!
It has been a very busy summer here as we have been in one of the worst droughts I have seen. We have caught a few timely rains here that other areas of the state have not. Our non-irrigated corn is just barely hanging on. We will have a crop from it, but it will be less than expected. Our irrigated fields look great and yield projections for those will most likely be record yields the way it looks now as we are way ahead on Growing Degree Units and have very minimal disease and insect pressure.
The popcorn looks good this year as do all of the soybeans also. I have included a few pictures of gravity irrigation and pictures of the crops to catch you all up with what is going on. Hope to get back to posting a little more often, but mother nature and kids activities dictate my free time this time of year.
We are thankful to have the irrigation on our farms as much of this country’s ag producers are not so fortunate!
Our corn is nearing roasting ear stage and it looks like harvest will be around two weeks early this year.
The term nerd 25 years ago and still today generally has a negative meaning to it, but there are a bunch of agricultualists and our supporters that have embraced the term and somewhat made it the calling card of the AgChat Foundation. I am not sure who first coined the term, but it has caught on and we embrace #AgNerd.
The AgChat Foundation is an organization dedicated to helping enable people involved in agriculture to better tell their stories through the use of social media. I serve in a volunteer capacity with the organization in setting up our conferences to help with this educational effort. I attended the first conference in August of 2011 in Chicago, IL. It was quite an experience finally meeting in person all of the individuals with whom I had advocated for agriculture with over the previous couple years. We put together our second Agvocacy conference this last August in Nashville, TN and it was a resounding success.
As I look forward this week to attending The Ag Issues 2012 event sponsored by Bayer Crop Science I reflect on where this social media journey of agvocating has taken me. I have had an opportunity to work with an amazing group of people that are interested in having a conversation with consumers and finding our common ground. These are selfless individuals interested in helping others to tell their stories and help bridge the gap that seems to exist between the producers of our food and the consumers. Last night many farmers and others in this area had a chance to listen to Anne Burkholder speak about the importance of telling this story and doing it the right way. If you have not heard of Anne, make sure to visit her blog at www.feedyardfoodie.com. I believe it opened some eyes to the divide that is out there. For too many years agriculture has sat back and let others tell our story for us. Let me tell you, it is not a pretty story. Do you consider your farm a “factory”? I certainly do not, but that is the way we are portrayed the majority of the time! Why, because the public does not know us. What they do know of us is usually second hand.
I get the chance because of this social media adventure to serve on a sustainability panel at Ag Issues 2012. The Twitter hashtag for the event in #agissues12. Please follow it on Twitter as myself and some friends I have met through #agchat will be tweeting the conference also. To follow the conference follow me at @Huskerfarm Michele Payn-Knoper at @mpaynknoper, and Jeff Vanderwerff at @agsalesman. We will be #agnerding with our smartphones, iPads, etc. for a couple days in Nashville, but there are a ton of others out there doing it every day, telling their story via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogs, Pinterest, etc.
Who are you going to tell your farm story to today? Is there someone you can connect with in a positive way to start a conversation? Are you going to let someone else do it for YOU? Are we going to be part of the solution, or help create a bigger divide? Take 10 minutes a week to tell your story in some way and see what it can accomplish. Large companies employ PR and reputation management firms to handle interaction and communication with the public. As individuals in agriculture, that is just another one of the many hats we need to wear each day on our own farms! I tell my story because I want to ensure that our children are afforded the same opportunities in agriculture that I have been. Find your reason!
Well, we finished up harvest a little over a week ago and it has been a blur of activity since then. We are shredding stalks on the gravity irrigated fields, discing up our organic quarter to return it to conventional production, drying grain in the bins to prepare the crop for winter storage, cleaning up equipment, winterizing equipment, storing equipment in the building for the winter, purchasing and making commitments for next years crop inputs, planning for next years crop and meeting with our seed customers to get next years orders.
Below are a few pictures to get you caught up on our farm happenings.
Just a few pictures to catch you up with what we have going this time of year. We are currently very busy with yellow corn harvest and have seen some very good yields. We finished soybeans a few days ago. The corn is still a little too wet to go to the elevator with it so we are putting it in bins to dry it down and store.
Also included is a short video of how I taught my black lab Coal to jump up to the combine platform to ride along. I apologize for the video being sideways as I held my phone that way. Tilt your head a little to the left and you will never notice!!!
Just a few pictures to get everyone updated on the happenings around our farm lately. We are just finishing side-dressing the nitrogen on the corn. We are currently cultivating and ridging the corn for gravity irrigation. We are also in the process of getting irrigation motors ready for irrigation season and hauling some of last years corn to our local elevator to sell.
Here is a few photos showing the progress of our crops this week. The one crop I did not include is the alfalfa which is ready for the first cutting to be put down.
The last picture is of our electrical controls at our bin site that were blown down in the wind a few nights ago. We were lucky as the storm weakened by the time it hit us. There were pivot irrigation systems and bins destroyed by the same storm to the north, south, and west of us.
Been a while since I actually wrote something, so I thought I would update everyone on what exactly we are doing now that our planting season is over. This week we have been cleaning up the planting equipment and getting seed corn ready for returning. This included breaking down the plastic boxes which carry our seed to be shipped back to our seed corn company.
It is also a time to get caught up on mowing, spraying, and general maintenance on the farmstead. We will be spending some time also hauling last years crop to market from our bins. Storing some of the crop has definitely paid off this year for our farm.
In the field at this time we are getting ready to side-dress fertilize the corn crop. We wait until after emergence of the crop to fertilize it as you gain efficiency from your fertilizer and can put on around 10% less than if you would put the fertilizer on prior to planting. We use GPS technology to precisely apply the amount needed to specific areas of the field based on soil samples that we pulled earlier this year.
We are also readying our row-crop cultivators to put up a “hill”. This is for our fields that we irrigate with gravity irrigati
In between all of this I have started tearing the deck off of our house that we moved into last December. The supports underneath were not constructed properly and we have had to tear the whole deck off and start over. Thank God for a tool called
a Sawzall. I will continue to post pictures of the crop throughout the growing season and try to summarize them every week. Hope everyone enjoys their summer vacations, our busy seasons are in full swing, although we did find the time to get away for a little Husker Baseball during one of the rain delays during planting as evidenced by My son and his friends in the picture!
Spring is always a time of re-newal and new beginnings on the farm as we plant crops and wait for them to grow and mature into harvest, but this year we have a new beginning in the addition of our third child.
It has been quite a year for us. New house before Christmas, finishing the basement in it, and now adding another piece to our family puzzle. Delaney was born Monday morning and came in at a just perfect 7 lbs 3 ounces. Big brother and big sister are both thrilled. It is nice to have them fighting over holding a baby, than the normal brother/sister fighting. It is almost like our 6 yr old grew up overnight when you see him settle down to sit and hold the baby. There are not many times in life you see him sitting and not moving unless he is sleeping. Our daughter of course is a minnie mom, hovering over the baby every second and talking to her just like the conversations she would have with mom’s tummy before Delaney was born.
We have received quite a little rain lately and it rained all day Monday which allowed me to focus on the moment of having our third child instead of worrying about getting the corn and soybeans in the ground. It is amazing how quickly our moisture has changed around here. In Early April we had been put back in a drought, and have now had over 6 inches of rain in the last couple weeks.
We put 500 acres of corn in the ground before the rain which is sitting in the ground waiting for the sunshine. So, on our farm this week will have the new beginning of a new baby and the new beginning of another crop year. May you all be blessed this season as we proceed through another crop year and another year of life!
“A conversation about ag”, not in person, but on the internet. Twitter, no less. I was skeptical at first when reading of #agchat, and at that time hashtags were the least of my worries as I was just trying to figure out how to tweet. I remember watching the first few conversations and thinking wow, this works, no facial expressions, no body language, just a forum to discuss the ins, outs, good, bad, new, old, trendy, tried, true, experimental, organic, conventional, genetically modified, local, large, small, diversified, specialized, organized, unorganized, independent ways of agriculture with consumers and other producers!!!
Here we are a year later and that first little tweet about having a conversation has turned into a one celebration of the AgChat Foundation, a continuing discussion held every Tuesday evening, offshoots of it all over twitter, and a group of people who have a passion for telling the story of ag and the belief that empowering others in ag to tell their story is one of their most important missions.
I was fortunate enough to attend the first conference in Chicago last August and came away more sure of myself than ever that our “Farm Story” needed to be told. I also came away knowing that I am an #agnerd, although, not as much as others!
I hope you all take a look at the #agchat website and gain an understanding of where it is going and what is happening. I have gotten to know many of the founders through twitter, facebook, etc. and have met them in person at the conference. Although we all have met only once in person, or maybe a few times at most, we have been united by a common cause which is to do the right thing for agriculture, and tell our stories. I have said it before and I will say it again. Who is telling your Farm Story?
Happy birthday #AgChat!